Chiang Rai from the air

CHIANG RAI, 7 October 2016: A new souvenir book on Chiang Rai province featuring spectacular photo shots from the air taken by a drone will be launched, Saturday, by travel book publisher, Knowledge Media Group.

Hosted by the Dusit Island Resort, the book launch will be opened by the province’s governor and attended by VIPs and top representatives of the local travel industry.

It marks the first time a Thailand travel book has been entirely illustrated by photos captured by a drone. The trilingual book, in English, Chinese, and Thai, features panoramic photographs of the province’s cultural tourist attractions and landscapes.

inside-no-111Edited by well-known travel personality and resident of Chiang Rai, Jaffee Yee, the 72-page book will be a popular buy for visitors who want to return home with a souvenir book that captures the essence of the province’s spectacular landscape and natural attractions.

Photo sessions using the drone, design and editing of the book took around six months to complete.

“Chiang Rai from the Air is our first venture using a drone and a fitting follow up to an earlier hardbound coffee table book ‘Best of Chiang Rai’ that we published in 2010,” Yee commented ahead of the launch.

He intends to publish similar books in a “from the air” series on a variety of destinations in Thailand and neighbouring countries starting with Chiang Mai.

“My next project is Chiang Mai, which has the depth and variety of attractions that are ideal for a book with an aerial perspective,” he said.

Beyond that Krabi awaits with its spectacular coastal scenery and the majestic Mekong River that could  possibly be linked to a competition based on drone photo entries.

“The sky’s the limit and I am particularly excited about linking a drone photography book project to a Mekong River aerial photo contest.”

However, in the Mekong Region, Yee has already encountered earthly limitations . On a recent assignment in Yangon, Myanmar, police confiscated his drone as it hovered over the revered Shwedagon Pagoda taking photos. He and his team were lucky not to be arrested, but the USD2,500 drone remains in custody and is unlikely to be released any time soon.

The trustees of the pagoda issued a ban on drones, September 2015, and it is understood legislation is underway to limit drone use across the country.

Pagoda officials at present are just confiscating the delinquent drones, but under penal code 188 the drone owner could face a month’s imprisonment and a fine.

Yee posted on his Facebook page: “On 6 September , our drone was confiscated when shooting for our book project! It is one of eight they have confiscated and they still could not decide what to do with them. They are mostly from tourists who are not aware of the rules. Therefore, they should be returned.

“Now it is clear since they publicised it  and made it known to all. Hardly anyone was aware of the rule they made against flying the UAV around the ancient pagoda.”

The Chiang Rai from the Air is on sale at all major bookstores at airports as of this weekend. Recommended retail price is THB499.